Parallax by Phronesis, review by John McBeath


Album:  Parrallax
Artist:   Phronesis
Release Date: April 2016
Label:    Edition/Planet

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This is the sixth album from Anglo-Scandinavian trio Phronesis, and their fourth for Edition Records. Led by Danish bassist Jasper Høiby with UK pianist Ivo Neame and drummer Anton Eger from Sweden, the trio is obviously democratic in its approach to content, each member having composed three of these nine tracks.

The group’s name is an ancient Greek word, translated as ‘practical wisdom’, a description, added to the word ‘musical’, that certainly applies to Phronesis’s virtuosic capabilities. The music is cerebral and descriptive but also swings mightily.

One of the leader’s pieces, Just 4 Now demonstrates the trio’s peak driving mode as Høiby’s bass pushes vibrantly through the busy complex of drums and piano, and delivers a fast-moving solo of clever rhythmic emphasis.

Neame’s Manioc Maniac has nothing to do with the Cassava (Manioc) in the title, but employs a good serving of racing, maniacal high energy piano right from the start, as drums and bass rush it all along to an abrupt conclusion.

The opener, 67000MPH by Eger is another high speed outing to start, with a smart piano and bass unison riff and Eger’s hyperactive cymbals, moving to a medium tempo later, again showing the trio’s almost telepathic communication.
Stillness, with its slow, mysterioso beginning has all three players contributing, as the leader adds the arco’d bass, but it moves into firstly a striding rhythm, and then a hard swinging passage riding to the conclusion.

Phronesis is at the world forefront of accomplished jazz piano trios with high calibre individuals, combining perfectly on their originals in a decidedly Eurojazz style.

Review originally published by the Australian

For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.